Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Mary Delach Leonard

Work/Life Reporter

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined St. Louis Public Radio in December 2013 when it merged with the St. Louis Beacon. She had been a reporter for the Beacon since April 2008 -- after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her stories have won Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards — for feature reporting in 2018 and hard news in 2016. She has also won awards from the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat (in Illinois). She earned a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she has served as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to huskies, pomeranians and Cardinals.

Ways to Connect

The grounds crew works on the field at Busch Stadium last week. Construction was still under way on the Budweiser Terrace, a new social gathering area in the upper right field seating sections. It will feature lounge seating, standing areas and two bars.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

After a cold and wet start to the season, Major League Baseball finally sloshes into the Gateway City at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Clydesdales take their first strut of the season around the warning track at Busch Stadium.

The St. Louis Cardinals are promising all of the traditional trimmings for their home-opening ceremonies: Motorcades will deliver the Hall of Famers and the 2018 team to home plate. There will be a color guard, a giant American flag at center field, and — weather permitting — a flyover by a KC-135 Stratotanker, an Air Force refueling aircraft.

Sister An Mei, left, and Sister Mary Lea Hill wave to a group of high school students who recently visited the Pauline Books and Media store in Crestwood.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Daughters of St. Paul have operated Pauline Books and Media, a small bookstore adjoining their convent in Crestwood, since the 1980s. But these days, the Roman Catholic sisters are reaching people far beyond St. Louis with their posts and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

Using the hashtag #MediaNuns, they tweet friendly messages of inspiration:

“If you do nothing else today, remember that God loves you.”

Three-year-old Brigid Horn looks up at the Gateway Arch after the opening of the Park Over the Highway. March 26, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Area schoolchildren made history at the Gateway Arch Monday afternoon, becoming the first visitors to cross the new walkway over Interstate 70 to enter the national park.

Officials with the Gateway Arch Park Foundation say the massive overhaul of the Arch grounds that began in 2013 is all about the future, so they wanted schoolchildren to be the first to use the Park Over the Highway when the construction fences came down. The entrance connects downtown St. Louis with the Arch and riverfront.

Replacement of the Liberal Arts Bridge was one of the projects funded by "Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future."
Forest Park Forever

Forest Park Forever has raised more than $139 million in gifts and pledges to fund needed improvements and to ensure the long-term care of Forest Park, the private nonprofit conservancy announced Wednesday.

Forest Park Forever partners with the city of St. Louis to care for the 1,300-acre park.

A volunteer greets Chico, one of the six St. Louis steers who escaped the slaughterhouse and now live at The Gentle Barn. March 3, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michelle Robertson unlocked the gate to a 15-acre pasture at The Gentle Barn in Dittmer, Missouri, where the St. Louis Six now spend their days. A year after they made headlines for escaping from a slaughterhouse and romping through city streets in north St. Louis, the steers are free to roam.

“There’s lots of rolling hills for them to run up and down and play,’’ said Robertson, cheerfully. She manages the animal sanctuary in Jefferson County, about 40 miles from St. Louis. “There’s beautiful trees for them to scratch on. They’ve got a big, beautiful barn filled with fresh straw that they can sleep in — although they do like to sleep outside.”

Provided by Better Business Bureau

Online romance scammers have swindled U.S. and Canadian consumers out of nearly $1 billion in the last three years, the Better Business Bureau reported Tuesday.

The scammers will break your heart, while draining your bank account, said Michelle Corey, president of the St. Louis Better Business Bureau, one of five bureaus that sponsored a national investigation into online romance scams.

Lights illuminate the commemorative plaques that line a memorial walkway near Kirkwood City Hall. The plaques honor those killed at City Hall 10 years ago. Feb. 6, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The choir will sing soothing words of hope when the community gathers Wednesday evening at Kirkwood United Methodist Church for a prayer service marking the 10th anniversary of a tragedy that time has not yet tempered.

“Peace fall like a gentle snow ... Fall fresh on the wounded heart ... Come blanket our every fear and let the healing start ...”

The church commissioned “Canticle of Peace’’ by Joseph M. Martin in 2009 and dedicated it to a community still healing from the City Hall shootings. On Feb. 7, 2008, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton, armed with two handguns and a festering grudge against city officials, fatally shot two council members, the director of public works and two police officers before being shot and killed by responding police officers.

A construction worker puts finishing touches on a French Creole cabin in the redesigned museum beneath the Gateway Arch.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Construction crews at the Gateway Arch are installing new museum exhibits in the expanded visitors center of the national monument — the final stage in a massive overhaul of the grounds that began in 2013.

“We’re in the home stretch,’’ said Ryan McClure, communications director for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, as he led reporters on a tour of the site Friday morning. “Right now, what you’re seeing is exhibits being installed, which is really the last piece that needs to happen in the building.’’

Construction will be completed in time for an opening celebration on July 3, he said. Fair St. Louis will be held on the Arch grounds, beginning on July 4.

Joshua Eckhoff, 33, of Ballwin suffered a traumatic brain injury while clearing roadside bombs in Iraq. January 2018 photo
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Joshua Eckhoff of Ballwin smiled as he described posing for pictures at his college graduation in December — and how proud his mother was. Earning that degree is the latest achievement for the Army veteran who suffered a brain injury in Iraq 10 years ago that no one thought he could survive.

On Feb. 6, 2008, as Eckhoff led a convoy searching for roadside bombs, an improvised explosive device pierced the armored vehicle he was riding in and smashed into the right side of his head. His injury was so severe that the Army notified his mother that he had died in combat.

“I call that my ‘alive day,’ ’’ said Eckhoff, 33. “The anniversary of my injury every year, we celebrate it like a birthday.”

SSM Health is reviewing its security procedures after discovering that a former employee with its customer service call center inappropriately accessed patient medical records between Feb. 13 and Oct. 20, 2017.

Artist rendering of a new MetroLink station being constructed between Boyle Avene and Sarah Street, the first segment of the proposed Chouteau Greenway.
Great Rivers Greenway

Great Rivers Greenway will introduce four teams vying to design the proposed Chouteau Greenway at two public events the first week of January.

A jury of nine local and international experts chose the four teams to advance in a design competition that was announced last fall, said Susan Trautman, chief executive officer of the agency.

The trains are the stars of Dan Schmidt's annual Christmas display in Overland in December 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Six-year-old Adam Messmer watched wide-eyed, as a model train pulled freight cars and tankers through a Christmas landscape that takes up every inch of Dan Schmidt’s front yard in Overland.

“There it is. There it is. There it is,’’ Adam called out, as the red and silver Santa Fe engine reappeared from a tunnel and chugged past a little church and a drive-in theater showing a video of “A Miracle on 34th Street.”

Adam has toy trains of his own, and this is one of his favorite Christmas displays, said Amie Messmer, his mother. They live nearby in Maryland Heights.

Better Business bureau

Scammers are successfully using phone calls, emails and pop-up messages on computer screens to convince American consumers that their computers are infected with phony viruses or malware, warns a new report by the Better Business Bureau.

Scams involving computer technical support aren't new, but they continue to be widespread. Americans forked over more than $21 million to such schemes in the first nine months of this year, according to the FBI.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

How bad will flu season be this year?

Well, it’ll be bad for you, if you catch it. So, get a flu shot, health officials say.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they can’t accurately predict the number of people who will get the flu in a given season, but research shows that vaccinations reduce the risk of influenza by 40 to 60 percent. They recommend flu shots for everyone over 6 months old.

A feral cat recovers after being neutered during a day-long clinic sponsored by the city of St. Louis, Operation Stop Pet Overpopulation and St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach. Volunteers cover the cages of the feral cats to calm them.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Linda Braboy explained her method for trapping feral cats, as she pushed her walker down an alley near Fairground Park on a chilly November Saturday.

She uses the wheeled walker to help her get around, but it also comes in handy for this mission. She has stuffed the pouch with cat food and stacked a couple of wire traps on top.

 This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that hadbeen in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. Over the next three days, the Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. Part 1

Work continues on the Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis. The monument is set to reopen in time for Veterans Day 2018.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Renovation of the Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis is on schedule, and the monument will reopen just before Veterans Day 2018 — the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I, according to project leaders with the Missouri Historical Society.

Trailnet claims a 12-mile walking and biking trail network could boost property values and business districts, while making the city more attractive to younger generations.
Trailnet

Trailnet wants to build a network of bicycle and walking trails that would connect St. Louis' north side and south side neighborhoods to an east-west trail that stretches from downtown to Washington University.

The nonprofit, which has been working for several years to develop a network of protected trails on existing city streets, has released a map that shows the general location of the proposed paths. They reach north to Fairground Park and Old North and south to Lafayette Square, Tower Grove and Cherokee Street.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Parks Department will dedicate a sculpture and plaza at the Powder Magazine Museum at Jefferson Barracks Park on Friday.

The centerpiece of the plaza is a bronze monument by St. Louisan Barbara “B.J.” Mungenast that pays tribute to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard. The sculpture is a duplicate of a monument that Mungenast has created for Fort Myer, Virginia, where the regiment is based.

Signs held by demonstrators at a Sept. 6 rally in support of the DACA program outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. The photo was taken by Eddie Albarran who spoke at the rally. He is studying photography.
Provided | Eddie Albarran

Eddie Albarran recalls being nervous — but also very determined — as he waited to address about 60 people gathered outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill last month.

Albarran, who grew up in St. Louis, was about to acknowledge publicly a fact of his life that he usually keeps to himself: He is one of nearly 700,000 young immigrants who have temporary protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama administration created the DACA policy in 2012 for  children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

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